Nation & World News

U.S. Spying Update: Europe Fumes And Protesters Rally In D.C.

By Bill Chappell on October 26th, 2013

Anger, distrust and possible punishments are the defining themes of Europe’s reaction to news that a U.S. spy agency monitored the phone calls of millions of European citizens and some world leaders. The details are the latest to emerge from leaks attributed to former National Security Agency contract worker Edward Snowden.

Members of the European Parliament will be in Washington on Monday to discuss recent reports by The Guardian that the NSA used U.S. officials’ Rolodexes to create lists of phone numbers to monitor. Intelligence officials will make a separate visit from Germany, whose Chancellor Angela Merkel was reportedly targeted for surveillance.

From Brussels, Teri Schultz reports for our Newscast unit:

“After months of muted EU reaction to reports the NSA was surveilling millions of private Europeans, the alleged tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal phone seems to have been the last straw.

“A delegation of European parliamentarians will take up the issue with the U.S. government Monday. German and French intelligence officials will be going there soon and may scale back security cooperation.

“The European Parliament has already passed a non-binding resolution to suspend a bank data-sharing agreement with the U.S. and passed a package of laws that would strengthen data and privacy protections in the EU. But many members of Parliament say that’s not enough, and are calling for talks on an EU-US free trade area to be frozen until Europe gets answers.”

In Washington, the ACLU and other rights groups are holding a rally Saturday called Stop Watching Us — video of which is being live-streamed. In the rally that coincides with the 16th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act, protesters are gathering to deliver a petition to Congress that organizers say was signed by more than 580,000 people, calling for transparency and accountability in U.S. surveillance. Its supporters also include Edward Snowden.

Here’s a roundup of reactions and fallout from the news:

“We need something clear-cut that is also in line with the spirit of an alliance,” Merkel said of the need to create “a framework for further cooperation” between the U.S. and its European allies, according to The Washington Post.

“There has been damage here,” former U.S. assistant secretary of state for public affairs P.J. Crowley tells NPR’s Scott Simon on Weekend Edition. “Obviously, deep disappointment and skepticism about U.S. actions and U.S. intentions — not unlike what we experienced 10 years ago, with Iraq.”

“The magnitude of the eavesdropping is what shocked us,” former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a radio interview, according to the AP. “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”

Although the U.S. collects “the same sort of intelligence as all nations, our intelligence community has more restrictions and oversight than in any other country in history,” says the Obama administration’s Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, in USA Today.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Pope Francis opens the morning session of a two-week synod on family issues at the Vatican, on Saturday.

Vatican Bishops Scrap Opening To Gays, Divorced Members

Earlier this week an interim summary of the synod on family issues included conciliatory language on gays and on the taking of holy communion for divorced church members.


An artist's rendering of the flyby with Mars orbiters taking cover. Note that the image says "spacecraft not to scale."

Mars Probes Give Scientists Box Seats For Rare Comet Flyby

A “mountain-sized” comet known as Siding Spring will pass very close to the red planet, where orbiters from the U.S., Europe and India, hope to get close – but not too close — to the action.


Pro-democracy protesters set up new barricades after riot police retreated from a main road at Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong early Saturday.

Hong Kong Activists Clash With Police, Retake Protest Site

Pro-democracy protesters have replaced barricades in the congested Mong Kong district of the city hours after authorities dismantled the obstacles.


People stand on the island's south shore to feel the winds from approaching Hurricane Gonzalo, in Astwood Park, Bermuda on Friday. The storm has knocked out power to half of the residents of the British island territory.

Hurricane Gonzalo Hits Bermuda; Ana To Skirt Past Hawaii

In the British island territory, Gonzalo has wiped out power to roughly half of the island’s 70,000 inhabitants.


The Supreme Court early Saturday declined to block a Texas Voter ID law for the November election.

Supreme Court Lets Texas Enforce Voter ID Law For Nov. Election

With three justices dissenting, the high court’s ruling effectively blocks a lower federal court decision declaring the law restrictive and unconstitutional.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments